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The proliferation of smartphones, social media applications like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, and even dating applications such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, has resulted in a sharp rise of Teen Sexting allegations and criminal charges in New York and elsewhere.

In New York, it is a crime to send or receive sexual images of a boy or girl under the age of 17. It is also a crime to possess sexual depictions of a boy or girl who is younger than 16 even if they are never sent to another person.

Finally, no matter a person’s age, it is a crime in New York to send or post Intimate Images of a person without his or her consent. Convictions of felony Teen Sexting charges require registration as a Sex Offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act or SORA.

It is important to note that Teen Sexting crimes are prosecuted when the person who is sending or posting sexual images of a minor is also a minor. So, a teenager who is less than 17 years old can face Teen Sexting charges when the sexual image is of another person who is less than 17.

The Most Common New York Teen Sexting Charges

Teen Sexting Resources

New York Teen Sexting Diversion

The punishments for Teen Sexting, which can result in time in prison, a permanent felony criminal record and possible lifetime registration as a Sex Offender under SORA, are harsh. The increase of teenagers facing criminal charges for Teen Sexting in New York gave urgency to creating a diversion program as an escape valve for teenagers who are charged. In 2012, New York created a Teen Sexting Diversion program when it passed. the Cybercrime Youth Rescue Act. Sexting Lawyer in New York

Since 2012, New York has offered a diversion program for teenagers charged with Teen Sexting crimes. This education reform program is available only to defendants who are less than 20 years old and only in cases where the victim/complaining witness is not more than 5 years apart in age from the defendant. Thus, if a person charged is 19, the complaining witness must be at least 14 years old.

New York’s Revenge Porn Law / Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image

In 2019 New York passed a Revenge Porn law, which is formally called Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image. Unlike other Teen Sexting charges, there is no minimum age requirement. Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image, Penal Law Section 245.15, is charged when:

  • With intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial or physical welfare of another person, he or she intentionally disseminates or publishes a still or video image of such other person, who is identifiable from the still or video image itself or from information displayed in connection with the still or video image, without such other person’s consent, which depicts:
    • An unclothed or exposed intimate part of such other person; or
    • Such other person engaging in Sexual Conduct (as defined in Penal Law Section 130.00(10); and
  • Such still or video image was taken under circumstances when the person depicted had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private and the actor knew or reasonably should have known the person depicted intended for the still or video image to remain private, regardless of whether the actor was present when the still or video image was taken.

Under New York, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image charges, the content of the image can include any naked body part such as a person’s genitals, pubic area, anus or a female’s nipple or any depict any Sexual Conduct. However, a person must be identifiable in the Intimate Image or information displayed in the Intimate Image must identify a person, such as a name or an account name.

New York Revenge Porn charges require that the Intimate Image be Disseminated or Published. Both terms are broadly construed. Under Penal Law Section 250.40(5), Disseminate means “to give, provide, lend, deliver, mail, send, forward, transfer or transmit, electronically or otherwise to another person.” That means that sending an Intimate Image to a single person via text message, social media direct message or email, satisfies the definition of Disseminate.

Publish, under Penal, Law Section 250.40(6) has 4 different definitions. The 2 that most frequently apply to New York Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image are “to post, present, display, exhibit, circulate, advertise or allows access, electronically or otherwise, to make an image or images available to the public” or “Disseminate with the intent that an image or images be posted, presented, displayed, exhibited, circulated, advertised or made accessible, electronically or otherwise and to make such image or images available to the public.” That means that posting an Intimate Image to on a social media application, even if the profile is private, would violate New York’s Revenge Porn Law.

New York Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image charges is classified as a class A misdemeanor. The maximum punishment is 1 year in jail.  Registration as a Sex Offender is not a requirement of a conviction of Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image charges.

Whether You Are a Victim or Charged With a Crime, Speak to an Aggressive Teen Sexting Lawyer, Contact Us Now For a Confidential Case ConsultationContact Us

New York City’s Revenge Porn Law / Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image

In addition to New York State Law, New York City has a Revenge Porn Law called Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image. Under New York City Administrative Code Section 10-180(b):

  • It is unlawful for a covered recipient to disclose an intimate image, without the depicted individual’s consent, with the intent to cause economic, physical or substantial emotional harm to such depicted individual, where such depicted individual is or would be identifiable to another individual either from the intimate image or from the circumstances under which such image is disclosed; or
  • It is unlawful for a covered recipient to make a threat to disclose an intimate image, provided that a depicted individual shall be considered to be identifiable where the covered recipient states or implies that such person would be so identifiable.

New York City’s Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image charges are similar to New York State Law. However, the crime Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image is broader than New York State’s Revenge Porn Law because it is illegal to threaten to disclose an Intimate Age under New York City’s Revenge Porn Law. Like Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image charges, the New York City crime is a class A misdemeanor.

Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree in NYC

Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 235.22, has 2 prongs, allegations of:

  • Disseminating graphic images of a minor depicting Nudity or Sexual Conduct or describing or depicting Sexual Conduct in words (without images); and
  • Luring (inviting or inducing) a minor to engage in Sexual Conduct

A person could be charged with Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree when he or she:

  • Intentionally communicates with a minor;
  • Knows the content of the communication that depicts or describes, either in words or images, Actual or Simulated Nudity or Sexual Conduct; and
  • Invites or induces the minor to engage in Sexual Conduct, Sexual Contact or to engage in a Sexual Performance

Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree is a class D felony and it is punished by between 2 and 7 years in prison for a first felony conviction. The crime is classified as a sexually motivated offense and a conviction requires registration as a Sex Offender under SORA or the Sex Offenders Registration Act. However, a person charged with Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree could patriciate in New York’s Teen Sexting Diversion program, if he or she meets the eligibility requirements.

For a first felony conviction, any jail sentence would be determinate between 2 and 7 years and followed by a period of post-release supervision between 3 and 10 years. Two other sentencing options, which require a Judge to make certain favorable findings for the person who is convicted are a 1-year jail sentence and up to 5 years of probation.

In addition, freedom of movement is severely restricted if the complaining witness was under 18 when the act occurred or the defendant is designated a level 3 sex offender. Any sentence may require a defendant to stay away from schools and places or people who are under 18 are present, barring prior approval.

New York Possessing a Sexual Performance By a Child

teen-sexting-lawyer-nycThe crime of Possessing a Sexual Performance By a Child, Penal Law Section 263.16, applies to possession of or access to images of Sexual Conduct of any person who is less than 16 years old. If the person in the image is at least 16 years old it does not violate Possessing a Sexual Performance By a Child. However, an image a person who is 16 years old still violates federal law and could lead to charges of Promoting Sexual Performance By a Child or Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors, depending on the allegations.

Possessing a Sexual Performance By a Child is charged wh